Renewable Farming

EPA released evaluation Sept. 12 claiming glyphosate does not cause cancer

The Environmental Protection Agency made available to the public on Sept. 12 a “Glyphosate Issue Paper: Evaluation of Carconogenic Potential” in which EPA cites a lack of evidence that glyphosate causes cancer. 

This document establishes the rationale for re-approval of glyphosate use in the United States. The key finding is that glyphosate is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans at doses relevant to human health risk assessment.” You can download the official paper as a PDF at this link.

EPA’s study challenges findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which in March 2015 classified glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen.”

We’ll use this posting for updates from scientists and observers around the world who will undoubtedly comment on EPA’s rationale. Keep checking the story for those updates as they occur.

For starters, here are just three general observations which are commonly focused on those agency findings and the studies they choose to back up their findings:

1. Almost all the carcinogenicity studies are short-term, not evaluating years of exposure. For example, a 12-month study of rat or mice tumors may show little response in cancer rates. An extended study by a French research team lead by biologist Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini came under corporate attack when it showed significant tumor growth in lab rats with longer exposure to glyphosate and its associated “adjuvants.”  Several years ago, a team of Midwest ag consultants met with USDA regulatory officials and asked them,  “Where are the long-term health studies on glyphosate as it’s actually used, in the field?” The consultants receive no answer. “They USDA people just looked at each other and couldn’t refer us to any such study,” one member of the team tells us.

2. We haven’t seen any studies by a U.S. health agency including the Centers for Disease Control, EPA or other protectors of our health which are epidemiologically based. That means studying real-life relationships between cause and effect in a population, usually in a specified geographic area.

What’s needed is a series of regional studies to statistically test disease rates in people, and test the possible links to actual exposure from ordinary use of commercial glyphosate formulations. This would help detect the effect of the usual adjuvants in agriculture. Regions of heavy glyphosate use in Argentina and Sri Lanka, for example, would be a place to start. Studies in Sri Lanka associate elevated kidney disease rates where glyphosate is extensively used.

Most clinical studies with lab animals are also typically using only the sole glyphosate molecule, not the blend laced with adjuvants which makes glyphosate so powerful in cell metabolism.  The U.S. approach to chemical safety is typically narrow and clinical, based on test animals for a few months.

And in a broader context, we’ve not seen any U.S. agency eager to find out what’s causing the parabolic rise in rates of most chronic diseases in the United States. This is the mega-crisis we face, far more devastating than the Zika panic.  Researcher Nancy Swanson has documented this alarming trend; you can download her research paper at this link.

3. The question of carcinogenic effect is not the only health implication involved in long-term exposure to glyphosate and its adjuvants. The glyphosate molecule is a highly effective bactericide in very small amounts. One of glyphosate’s early patents was for use as a bactericide. Glyphosate’s impact on gut bacteria has been studied somewhat, but since “all disease starts in the gut” this effect should be an urgent goal of mainstream research. 

Back in 2013, medical researchers were noting a sharp increase in hospitalizations of children with “inflammatory bowel disease.” These diagnoses include Crohn’s disease, which we’ve seen in our own local schools. One student — told that several years of drug treatment for Crohn’s had run its course and the next step is surgery — abruptly altered his diet to all organic, fresh and whole foods. His symptoms disappeared and did not return.

And before that, one of our farmer friends, Howard Vlieger of Maurice, IA worked with Australian scientist Judy Carmen to compare hogs fed GMO rations vs. non-GMO rations through an entire five-month finishing cycle. Evidence of stomach and gut inflammation showed up in the postmortems after normal slaughter of the animals.  Judy Carmen’s website carries the entire study along with other work she and her colleagues have done. 

Update Sept. 16:  Today’s Saturday Essay in the Wall Street Journal describes — in a really excellent analysis — the importance of the microbial populations… the “biota”… which humans need for sound health. They note that FDA has constrained use of some chemicals, other than glyphosate, which are damaging to beneficial bacteria.  But the physicians who authored the article don’t mention how glyphosate can change the mix of gut organisms, just as glyphosate does in the soil. There’s probably more research on how glyphosate impacts soil organisms than on how it impacts the biota in our digestive tracts. 

Update Sept. 16:  We asked independent scientist Anthony Samsel for permission to link to several of his peer-reviewed papers on this issue. Meanwhile, Dr. Samsel sent us an e-mail with some preliminary comments in regard to the EPA Glyphosate Issue Paper. Here is a shortened version of those comments:

Anthony Samsel
In this document, the EPA never mentions N-nitrosoglyphosate, nor do they mention that, every glyphosate product contains N-Nitrosoglyphosate (NNG) which is a carcinogen.   The issue is totally avoided  … even though Monsanto’s own studies noted increases in vivo of NNG demonstrating that the NNG was not just a contaminant of manufacturing.  
“The EPA finally refers to Glyphosate as an amino acid. It’s nice to see that they have made progress since our June 2016 meeting.  The October 4 day meeting should be interesting.  I noticed in this document that they have not accepted Giles-Eric’s work and listed it as RETRACTED. My next paper # 6 on glyphosate is almost finished and # 7 is underway; #6 raises numerous valid questions concerning this synthetic amino acid and analogue of glycine.
Additional quick thoughts:
“That glyphosate seems to cause SOME cancers means that it is a carcinogen.   But is it actually the NNG that is causing the cancers …Remember,  glyphosate in concert with nitrites = NNG or NNG as one of the contaminants inducing those ‘funky’ cancers ?  This also happens in vivo …
“Putting cancer aside, Glyphosate does not belong in biology.  It is a synthetic amino acid (AA) participating in protein synthesis. Its misincorporation into proteins, particularly the structural proteins collagen, elastin, fibronectin and laminin is disturbing.  Why would we want to deliberately eat, breathe or absorb this synthetic analog of glycine which alters who we are and that of all life ?  Replacing a non-coding canonical amino acid in a protein is not without consequence …  
“EPA’s determination of a safe level for this chemical is hogwash.  Glyphosate functions as an amino acid at the molecular level.  I calculated that  there are 3.561 trillion molecules of glyphosate in 1 ppb ….. and each molecule is capable of disrupting a protein.
“Monsanto’s own chronic animal studies show the disruption and destruction of the basement membrane and tissues of every gland and organ.  Their studies show that this material does bioaccumulate in plants and animals.  This is why I found glyphosate in gelatin from animal bones and contaminated vaccines which use animal products in manufacture.  
“This is why DUPONT had to use proteolysis to release radio-labeled glyphosate from animal tissues for analysis.  Free glyphosate was easily eluted and measurable by HPLC, but some of the glyphosate C-14 becomes part of the proteins which required additional steps of proteolysis for extraction.  Additional glyphosate was now available in the eluant for analysis ….
“Everything that glyphosate is used on or with, is contaminated, whether sprayed pre-plant or post production, whether used on GM crops or during staging and desiccation.  Contamination and entrance into the food web is inevitable, as demonstrated in numerous Monsanto studies and those of others.”